Page 6: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2001)

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Editor's Note

Word from Washington, D.C. is not good for the U.S. maritime indus-try, though far from definitive at the time of this printing. Those in the indus- try who watched the November 2000 U.S. presidential election with amusement, amaze- ment and much concern have now redirected their lobbying efforts to the first budget pro- posal from President George W. Bush that, among other things, eliminates the Title XI financing program, a program which has helped to deliver billions of dollars in business to both large and small U.S. shipyards at a critical period of marine infrastructure consolidation and redevelopment.

Naturally, special interest groups are particularly vocal following an initial budget proposal, particularly when it is from a first-time presi- dent who has yet to establish his national track record on such matters.

The standard rhetoric from all groups usually centers on the need to increase funding which is viewed as inadequate. However this year, the tone is a bit more desperate.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) notes that the Civil Works budget represents a 14 percent decrease, a total that

AAPA claims falls far short of meeting the nation's water resources infrastructure needs. The budget outline, released February 28, would decrease the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works budget to $3.9 billion from $4.5 billion, a sum which was then seen as too little given the enormity of updating projects needed.

More dire, however, is the state of the Maritime Administration and the Title XI Ship Loan Guarantee program. Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA), simply states that "America will not be a maritime nation if it does not have a maritime industry." The proposal calls for the dismantling of MarAd, and the elimination of Title XI. While the budget is far from com- plete, interested parties (i.e. everyone reading this page!) should ensure that their voices are heard. To that end, Representatives Duncan

Hunter (R-CA), Randy Cunningham (R-CA), Gene Taylor (D-MS),

James Maloney (D-CT), Ronnie Shows (D-MS), Jo Ann Davis (R-

VA), ed Schrock (R-VA), Tom Allen (D-ME), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Charles Pickering (R-MS) have jointly sent a letter to President

Bush urging him to include $100 million in the FY '02 budget for

Title XI.

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